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Danfoss ZCP Panels - closing doors

Constantin
Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
ECM technology in itself will not revolutionize anything. I remember taking apart a couple of washing machines for the DoE and seeing all the different control strategies for multiple speeds. There is a definite price that has to be paid for a PWM controller on a DC motor or a controller on a ECM motor...

However, the price of that technology is coming down... and it may come down to the point where one pump and a bunch of zone valves/TRVs can efficiently heat a home. Mike T. is doing it in MO with the Grundfos that came with his Vitodens, for example.

The big benefit of a true ΔP-controlled pump would be the simplification that it potentially allows and the efficiency it offers when fewer than all zones call for heat. Instead of using a PAB that bypasses the excess pump pressure back into the primary circuit, the variable-speed pump can cut back on its speed automatically. Flow setters or careful distribution design then ensures even heating. I suppose a "regular" pump with a very flat curve would come close as well...

Most heating is done in the shoulder seasons, so there could be significant energy savings. Such savings could be very popular for off-grid homes, for example.

Comments

  • Dave Heath_2
    Dave Heath_2 Member Posts: 52
    Black day at Danfoss

    Who would have thought. Danfoss is closing down the ZCP Panel manufacturing division in Calgary. Doesn't make much sense. For those who chose to purchase and install these fine products you have to wonder the sensibility of such acts. The Danfoss Calgary team of guy's were leading edge thinkers and knew how to build the best quality product around. How many of you out there think Danfoss should have made this foolish decision? Speak up and say something.....

    Robert Bean sold his company to Danfoss in 1999 to enable his dream of panels to grow and thrive in North America. Danfoss just could not see this thru to the end and I know have let a number of Agents, Distributors and contractors down. Those that recognized and profitted from their choice of Panel for design and installs now have to find a differant source.

    It's a black day!!!
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Well

    I guess I WON'T be using one on our next project as I had hoped. I thought it was a nice looking neat package.

    Scott

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  • rb_6
    rb_6 Member Posts: 222
    Ruff Ruff grrrrrrrr..........

    The jury isn’t out as far as what happens next and until the laundry is cleaned, dried and pressed everything else is pure speculation.

    There is enough deep rooted support across the continent for the guys in Calgary that many other options are presenting themselves daily with the least likely at this point being a total disassembly of the team…

    My suggestions:

    If I was a Danfoss component competitor I would be preparing an offer to supply valves, actuators, pressure bypass valves, weather compensators, air separators, circulators, etc…if Danfoss still wants the sales of parts they’ll have to compete with the rest of the pack...Heimeier, Oventrop, Braukmann, Tour Andersson are you listening?

    If I were a contractor, I would let the guys know one way or another about continuing to buy if they keep producing ... there isn’t anything in or on the panel that won't be available or supported...Danfoss valves, actuators, and controls are still great stuff, all standard off the shelf components as are the Dahl, Grundfos, Taco and other brands…see next item:

    If I were an investor, I’d get in line with a group of like minded individuals to hire the Calgary team and continue operations. The organization is in one of the best places in the world for long term properity. Huge supply of natural resources, low corporate taxes, lowest personal taxes anywhere and a low cost of living in relative terms and with the overhead of feeding the corporate dog gone, the tail wags quite nicely on its own. Lean, mean and wagging passionately as a tail should.

    If I were an OEM account I would be offering the entire team a position on your team or continue to send orders ...see above.

    If I were a Danfoss panel competitor, I would ask the guys in Calgary if they would consider bidding on your product line.

    If I were a wholesaler, I would call them up with your letters of continuing support and orders.

    At this point the guys in Calgary would be evaluating their options and continuing operations is a very real possibility and hearing that they still had support from the field helps them come to better conclusions.

    So many options, so many decisions…what will the guys do with the opportunity…hmmm…a lot depends on what they hear from you guys here on the Wall.

    When a dog bites off its tail...it has nothing to wag with.

    In this case the tail made up of great talented guys is still alive and well and have survived worse things than this...they'll choose to look at this as an opportunity because they are professionals - but they need to hear your thoughts.
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Sometimes even the very best

    invention and idea, which I fell the ZCP is, are not accepted, and purchased, accordingly.

    Just because you build it doesn't mean they will buy it.

    I hope this brand does not go away, they are a line of products and concepts revolving around "do it right every time" and have been a top notch product. The same goes for the team behind the ZCP's.

    But I understand a little about market share and turning a profit, and I suspect that is what a decision would be based on??

    hot rod

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  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    As Shultzie would have said...

    Velly Interestink. Seems to me, that as our population continues to age, the labor pool of highly experienced I-can-build-one-myself shrinks, and the continuing edfforts by many to advance the comfort provided by hydronics, that opportunities will increase for sales of these products if:

    * The turn-around time is greatly diminished.

    * Honey - I shrunk the box. They can be reduced in size quite easily and need to be if sales are to increase. I've looked at this issue from a number of angles and believe it can be achieved while, at the same time, standardizing the various components - much like Henry Ford did to the auto assembly process.

    * While we're rethinking the "Conditioning Process" from homes to people, the hydronics industry needs to rethink the current components gathering process and start over if they ever hope to capture the HVAC sector's attention and grow this industry. Tis an intimidating look-in for an outsider already comfortable installing boxes that are marketed as a completed appliance. I see this in action every two years at ISH. It can and does work.

    I see this move as a symptom of the ills affecting the hydronics industry as a whole. Not a death-nell, mind you, but more like some illness that leaves a scar that remains visible and painful to the touch.

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Not always..

    ... sometimes, something as simple as a "strategic" realignment can ream out good, profitable parts of a company, quite accidentally. Office politics has as much to do with some of these decisions (in my experience) as actual fiscal performance.

    Never mind the whole can of worms you can open up when it comes to measuring profitability. There are some truly bizarre accountability systems out there that have grown and morphed with the businesses until their resemblance to GAAP or whatever is about as distorted as the beauty and the beast.

    Something as simple as determining the "cost" of a product is a huge millstone around the necks of many managers who are supposed to make pricing decisions but who are "supported" by internal accounting systems that may or may not reflect the true effort to make a product. Look up the principle of the "Death Spiral" to see what I mean.

    I guess the question is how many people can be supported by the sales generated by the business. If there is a respectable profit, perhaps a buyer can be found.
  • rb_6
    rb_6 Member Posts: 222
    Marketshare & Profitability

    Hi Hot Rod et al and growing list of others above...greetings.

    It was then, as it is now I imagine, a case of Calgary having to feed the big dogs appetite for cash. The trends in revenues, cost of goods sold, operating margins were most likely acceptable...what was probably the kryptonite around the neck was the big dogs sales/admin/hr/IT/marketing fees included in the operating expenses of a manufacturing plant. Without the monthly care package allocations and the need to feed the brand ego the business from the outside looking in - appears to be sound and strong. I am guessing what drove the guys nuts is they could only control their own cost which they did exceptionally well (beer, burger and fries guys), what they couldn’t control was what the big dog was eating (steak, shrimp and cognac). Those private jets and first class airline seats have a way of eating up the cash...now that the entourage has left...its a different business model.

    As far as buying the business, there is nothing to purchase really. The Danfoss brand name isn't for sale, the jigs and tools are used and worth auction or scrap metal prices. Inventory will most likely go back into distribution. Office assets are probably the biggest dollar figure and they'll be liquidated for a song.

    Its the skills and talents of the team and their relationships with distribution and users that is really the intrinsic value and if they knew industry would continue supporting them with ongoing commitments with orders they should with a small short term operating loan be able to make the transition - if that’s what they choose to do.

    I can't see Danfoss not selling product to a new business if it emerged...(although stranger things do occur as Constantin has pointed out)...good thing is there is no shortage in supplies of high quality control products.

    I hope they keep going as my next house is going to need some ZCP's...so what do you think, would you keep buying product if those gents kept producing?

    RB
  • Absolutely!!

    This crew was building a wonderful product BEFORE the Danfoss name was applied, and I'm positive that they can continue on without the name.

    And Dave is right. We spend a LOT of unnecessary time, building pipe monuments to the hydronic gods in every boiler room, and complain about the lack of space to get it done...

    How about a new name for these gents. Something like Calgary Human Interest Piping Services (CHIPS). When the CHIPS are down, these guys are UP. Or Calgary Human Application Pipings Services.. or, or,,,

    They've got my vote of confidence.

    ME
  • Dan Foley
    Dan Foley Member Posts: 1,258
    ZCP

    I was very disappointed when I heard the news yesterday that Danfoss was pulling the plug on the ZCP line. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall considering the exodus of fine talent from Danfoss over the past year. Even so, the Calgary staff that I have had the pleasure to associate with (Dale, Brian, Mark, Ian) are among the best in the business. They will land on their feet somewhere, hopefully as an intact operation.

    My business has relied on the ZCP product line with dozens of units installed with several more in the pipeline. I have one sitting in my warehouse waiting to go in Monday. I wonder how Danfoss will support this line? I also wonder what will become of Wirsbo's ProPanel line, of which I have several installed.

    I believe Robert hit the nail on the head - the business model was sound and the heating division was profitable and growing. It was absolutely amazing how the Calgary operation could fabricate 3,000+ panels annually out of their tiny shop. Trying to satisfy a huge, multi-billion, multi-national corporation turned out to be a different story, though.

    I do not believe we have read the final chapter of this story. These guys are too talented and this product is too good not to continue in some form. Best of luck to my friends in Calgary! -DF

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  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    Mark E, I think we agree for once,

    that is on the piping monuments that are built. The question I ask to you is. Why do people build these setups?
    Do people really think that you need all that crap to heat a given space? Why would anyone pay 2-3 times as much for a foreign boiler that can't in a real world out perform a domestic one? Does anyone look at total energy eff? Did I say that out load? Sincerely P.P.
  • Dave Heath_2
    Dave Heath_2 Member Posts: 52
    Can anything be done!

    What I cannot understand is why Danfoss would not go to market and try to sell this division to a group of investors. It happens all the time in all types of business. Danfoss, not to try to sell this product manufacturing facility to an interested investor is questionable.

    Laars boilers were just recently purchased by Bradford White. Teledyne Waterpik did not try to dissolve this group. It made better sense to sell the Laars group to another investor. It's called return on investment!

    Danfoss would have gained significant opportunities if they had chosen the smoother path of transition. The new investors would have carried on the warranty program, continued purchasing Danfoss components as OEM. Allowed all existing distributors and Installers access and continued sales. It would have allowed the transition to be smooth and allowed Danfoss to graciously move back to their core heating component business. Alot of work initially, but a lot less pain in the end. Save face, save jobs and save customers! Not a terrible thing to fathom.

    Someone out there, put your money forward. Make an offer to Danfoss and let everyone get back to business. Danfoss can still do the right thing and still keep their sales as OEM to a new group of investors.
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    So, what happens to................

    the manufacturers that use their panels?
    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    New Ideas

    Sometimes it takes what seems like a very long time for great new ideas to be accepted. Pre-manufactured pump panels are something that can benefit many contractors.

    I read somewhere that perseverance is not a long race. It is a series of short races one after the other. Maybe it's time for them to start the next short race.

    -Andrew
  • Rocket_2
    Rocket_2 Member Posts: 1


    I have been using the panels by HPS Controls. I have had great success with them. They are an option to the Danfoss line.
  • So...

    Does this mean you're going to start using your real name and stop hiding behind all of those initials??:-)

    I will mark this day in hydronic history:-) "THP agreed with ME on something..."

    To be perfectly honest with you, people build these hydronic monuments because that's the way they were taught. They do it for the same ereason that a dog licks its tecticles. BECAUSE THEY CAN...

    In a lot of cases, they do it for redundancy. They don't trust a single pump system. In reality, they are STILL subjected to the one pump failure causing total system failure, but they feel in their hearts that they are doing "the right thing".

    I use to be guilty of this same scenario. I have a few monuments floating around in my closet too. We all do. It feels good for our egos for the same reason the dog licks themselves. Because THEY CAN, and IT FEELS GOOD.

    I have some former students, who work for wholesale suppliers, and I can tell when I walk into one of their jobs. It's enough to make a pump salesman cry, in joy.

    But, bottom line, it works as advertised, and to the consumer, that's all that's important.

    Now, when (if) our gubernment ever gets its act together enough to dictate overall "system efficiency", you will see people reducing the number of pumps on their systems. But until then, there are a very few select designers and installers who have decided to go the KISS method, and design systems with minimal parasitic cost of operation.

    I was one of the people who urged the RPA to come out with a category of "The Most for the Least" in their annual awards. It got to the point where if you didn't have at least 20 little circulators in your systems, you weren't considered a candidate for an award. You could heat a small well built home with the parasitic power from most of these systems, and the HUMM in the mechanical room at design condition is something to be felt....

    I'm working on the designs for a system to be constructed in NW Colorado that will be unique. It will have ZERO pumping requirements, and ZERO boiler requirements, and will actually PRODUCE 125 watts/hour of electricity.

    It will use an 4000 foot deep artesian (abandoned gas well) well capable of producing 22 GPM of 107 degree F water at 56' of head. Granted, not every one has an artesian well in their back yard, hence the uniqueness of the system.

    Here's a system that won me Best of Show for the RPA a long time ago. I'm not emberassed by it, and it continues to work flawlessly today, but I would definately do things differently today.

    Now, about those initials, Paul, Perry, Peter??

    Go ahead, don't be afraid. We WANT to know who you are. You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.:-)

    ME
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790
    Ironically

    Simplified piping is more the European way. I do think it's important that what we design and install is serviceable in the future. Even a single pump system can very easily have a greatly oversized circulator. Many people underestimate the power of a 15-58.

    -Andrew
  • Brian (Tankless)
    Brian (Tankless) Member Posts: 340
    Black & white ?

    That must have been a loooooooong time ago, did you use a Kodak "Brownie" back then :O)

    I got my first Brownie when I was five. My Kodak now, is 4 megapixel, plus a Samsung which also takes video's. Boy how things change.

    Nice job, Mark.

    Brian, in 75* Swampland. Whoever said there's no Global warming....I mean Climate Change :)

  • Intelligent pumping...

    You're correct Andrew. Most people thing "If a little pump does a little good, then a BIG pump will do a LOT of good..."

    Now, when someone comes through with a pump or a pump controller that will intelligently vary its speed based on either delta P or delta T or both, the market for pressure activated bypasses will vaporize in front of your very eyes.

    Hot stock tip. If you own stock in a company that makes PAB's, sell your stock quick and buy tekmar stock:-)

    I've been saying this for nigh on 7 years, and only one manufacturer (Thanks Taco) has made an effort to come out with something that comes close to it...

    I know, I know Honeywell has VFD's, but not for small residential applications. I've used their large VFD succesfully on large systems, so I know it CAN be done...

    Frustrated in Hydroncisville..

    ME
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    I've been waiting...

    ... for a true ΔP pump for a while. Wilo is rumored to have them in the US, Grundfos may or may not get their alphas over here, etc. But the market doesn't seem to be clamoring for them, the way we do. Hence, even once these pumps make their debut in a big way, I expect a pretty long wait before PABs die... teaching old dogs new tricks, the higher initial cost of a VS pump, and all that.

    Taco and some of the other pump manufacturers certainly have the groundwork covered... a variable-speed 007 with a ΔP controller would do it. I'll look forward to that unit coming out when the time comes. In the meantime, my 15-58's are grossly oversized, even at the lowest pump speed setting. Oh well.
  • rb_6
    rb_6 Member Posts: 222
    Words of Wisdom

    "To be perfectly honest with you, people build these hydronic monuments because that's the way they were taught. They do it for the same reason that a dog licks its testicles. BECAUSE THEY CAN... "
    Words of Wisdom by Mark Eatherton

    I don't about anybody else but I'd like your permission to quote those beautiful words in my seminars.
    RB
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Grundfos has had VS circs

    available in the 15 frame for years. The MixiMiser has a tekmar board, on board, and is ready to go out of the box. I use these on my simple VS injection systems. Mainly minitubes for commercial buildings.

    The Variable Speed 15 frame requires a signal from some control, or can be manually locked at 15-100%. It also exercises for 10 seconds at full speed every 3 days if desired.

    I keep hearing rumors about exciting new products from Grundfos at the begining of the year. Typically the ASHRAE show is the industry unveiling. I'll be in Kansas City with Grundfos this week. I'll squeeze for info or spy photos :)

    hot rod

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  • Permission...

    GRANTED. Just don't be printing it in any Ladies Home Journals or any such magazines..;-)

    ME
  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    Hubba Hubba ME

    Been busy will respond soon.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,491
    Wilo

    needs to get it by UL first. Probably be here in two years or so.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,491
    I hope

    the guys stay together and continue to build. I've loved these units since you first showed them to me, and now I have something else to chat about in my seminars: Danfoss.
    Retired and loving it.
  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    Slick Advertising

    The ecm still will not run cheaper than a properly matched psc circ. If you read the advertising they always add that to get the savings you have to have night time set-back. (Calling for reduced pumping )
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Why the \"thp\"?


    Come out, come out, whoever you are!

    You're not really GW are you??

    Mark H

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  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    It's a

    trademark. Mark
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    OK


    I am not familiar with it so could you fill me in a little bit?

    Mark H

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  • jerry scharf_3
    jerry scharf_3 Member Posts: 419
    DC motors and electronic controls (multiple threads)

    Constantin,

    Funny you should mention washing machines. This may sound like and ad, but I own a Fisher Paykel top loading washing machine and it's an amazing machine. It violates all the rules about how to build a washing machine. It has 1 direct drive DC motor with custom electronic controls, a couple clutches and the water valves. No transmission, no belts. The controller controls the direction and speed of the motor exactly. It agitates with complete control from gentle to firm. It spins the drum up to 1000 rpm to expel water. It is the only top loader than can compare with front loader for cleaning and efficiency. It costs a little more than half as much as the fancy front load machines because so many parts have been eliminated. With a utility rebate set up for the fancy front loaders, I walked away with it for just over $300! And I save money on every load...

    thp (whoever)

    So with the ECM motors, it's all about the intelligent use of controls. If all you do is run it at full speed, you aren't using the controls right. Tell me a fixed speed PSC motor running at full speed into a manifold with a pressure bypass makes more sense than slowing down an ECM motor. Either you never work on systems with zone valves or I don't understand something you do about properly matching pumps. With the Wilo pump, it has all the elctronics in it to slow the pump to maintain constant head (or a number of other settings.)

    Hot Rod,

    the difference between the Wilo pump and the grundfos or taco variable speed pumps is the gain in efficiency as the pump slows down. In theory the power is the cube of the rmp for a pump, so at 1/2 max rpm you should ideally use 1/8th the power. PSC motor loses efficiency quite quickly as the RPMs fall from nominal speed. So at 1/2 max rmp, you may still be using 80% of the power of full speed. By using a ECM motor, there is a small penalty at full speed (rectification and switching,) but at 1/2 max rpm, it using maybe 1/3rd or less of the full speed power.

    jerry
  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    Jerry

  • thp_8
    thp_8 Member Posts: 122
    Are we on the same web site?

This discussion has been closed.